SCOTUS allows lower court to ban prayer from public square

Daniel Horowitz – June 29, 2018

In case you thought that the potential to flip Justice Kennedy’s seat alone will bring us back to the constitutional promised land, think again. So long as the lower courts are not restrained, we will never return to the Constitution and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

There is nothing more radical than a lower court granting standing to random plaintiffs to sue against non-coerced public prayer in county government meetings, prayers that have been going on since our founding. Yet a district judge in 2015 and the en banc decision of the radical Fourth Circuit in 2017 barred Rowan County, North Carolina, from opening council sessions with a prayer, similar to what our federal Congress does every day. Yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to grant certiorari to the appeal from Rowan County, despite three years of being under a tyranny that the judges know is unconstitutional.

We shouldn’t even need to get into court precedent to understand our heritage and the true meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. But just four years ago, in Town of Greece v. Galloway, Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority that as long as the prayer “comports with our tradition and does not coerce participation by non-adherents,” there is no room for judicial intervention. “To hold that invocations must be non-sectarian would force the legislatures sponsoring prayers and the courts deciding these cases to act as supervisors and censors of religious speech,” Kennedy wrote in the 2014 case.

U.S. Supreme Court backs Christian baker who spurned gay couple

Lawrence Hurley – June 4, 2018

WASHINGTON, June 4 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory on narrow grounds to a Colorado Christian baker who refused for religious reasons to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, stopping short of setting a major precedent allowing people to claim exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on religious beliefs.

The justices, in a 7-2 decision, said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed an impermissible hostility toward religion when it found that baker Jack Phillips violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by rebuffing gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012. The state law bars businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.

The ruling concluded that the commission violated Phillips’ religious rights under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

New Ten Commandments Lawsuits Filed in Arkansas

TruNews – May 25, 2018

A pair of “freethinking” atheist groups have been joined by an “interfaith” group to file a lawsuit aimed at removing a Ten Commandments display on the Arkansas state capitol grounds.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin to seek the removal of the marble monument, claiming it is an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment’s “establishment clause.” It is joined by the American Humanist Association, the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, and a number of “individual plaintiffs who are religious and nonreligious citizens of Arkansas.”

According to a press release, the FFRF says its lawsuit:

“seeks a declaration that the monument is unconstitutional, an injunction directing the defendant to remove the monument, and costs and attorneys’ fees. The state could be on the hook for a substantial amount of money when it loses the case.”

Chicago GOP to File Lawsuit Against Chicago Public Schools: Student Walkout ‘Political Indoctrination, Pure and Simple’

Dr. Susan Berry – March 15, 2018

The Chicago Republican Party plans to file a lawsuit against the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) over its decision to organize students to participate in Wednesday’s student walkouts that promoted gun control.

“It’s appalling that 10 to 14-year-old kids would be coerced, by their teachers, to participate in a political demonstration,” said Chris Cleveland, chairman of the Chicago GOP, in a statement. “A 10-year-old kid isn’t going to have an informed opinion on these political matters, and shouldn’t be expected to have the fortitude to hold a different opinion from everyone else in his or her classroom. This is political indoctrination, pure and simple.”

“It’s a violation of CPS policy, of state law, and of the First Amendment for a government-run school to organize a political demonstration and pressure students to participate in it,” he added.

Appeals Court Strikes Maryland City’s Law Forcing Pro-Life Centers to Promote Abortion

Michael Gryboski

A three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a Maryland city’s law that forced a pro-life center to post disclaimers at their facility about not providing abortions.

The panel ruled unanimously last Friday that a Baltimore ordinance requiring the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns to post signs at their building saying they will not refer for abortions violates the pro-life group’s First Amendment rights.

Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, who authored the panel’s decision, concluded that the ordinance forced “a politically and religiously motivated group to convey a message fundamentally at odds with its core belief and mission.”

“This court has in the past struck down attempts to compel speech from abortion providers. And today we do the same with regard to compelling speech from abortion foes,” wrote Judge Wilkinson.

IRS again pressured to hammer U.S. churches

Bob Unruh – August 23, 2017

The atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation is demanding – again – that the Internal Revenue Service revoke the tax-exempt status of churches whose ministers express an opinion about a moral issue or a candidate’s position that is deemed political.

The lawsuit against President Trump and IRS Director John Koskinen says any consequent harm to churches is of no concern.

But several pastors and other organizations that would be affected have filed a motion to have the case dismissed.

That request comes from Charles Moodie, Koua Vang, Patrick Malone and Holy Cross Anglican Church, whose arguments were submitted to the U.S. District Court in Wisconsin by the Becket Fund.

“Plaintiff FFRF asks this court to issue an injunction requiring the IRS to penalize internal church teaching, including the preaching of proposed intervenors Rev. Charlies Moodie, Pastor Koua Vang, and Father Patrick Malone to their church congregations, … But since 1871, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly confirmed that the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment prevent the government from interfering with internal church affairs,” the new brief explains.

Supremes asked to overturn judge’s gag order protecting abortionists

Bob Unruh – August 3, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to overturn a gag order issued by a Planned Parenthood-linked judge preventing David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress from releasing videoed conversations he had with abortionists at a National Abortion Federation event.

Among other reasons, Daleiden contends the order is a “novel inroad” on First Amendment speech rights.

The video in question is no secret, as defense attorneys released it to the public when it was used as the basis for criminal counts filed by abortion advocates in the California state attorney general’s office against Daleiden.

The defense counsel explained it needed to be in the public if it was evidence in a criminal case.

But the judge who issued the gag order, U.S. District William Orrick III, saw it differently and found both Daleiden and his lawyers in contempt for violating his evidence-suppressing ruling.

Before school Bible class halted amid controversy Staff – May 2, 2017

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) –A before school Bible club is no longer operating at a Bartlett elementary school.

The Altruria Bible Club met at Altruria Elementary School before classes started. Dozens of students attended the meetings.

However, Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) heard about the club and contacted the school. FFRF said the school should investigate the club to make sure teachers and staff are not participating, as FFRF said that would violate the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Bartlett City Schools stopped the club from meeting.

Now, the Center for Religious Expression (CRE) is pushing back against the school stopping the Bible club. CRE said the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled “time and time again that equal access for religious groups does not violate the First Amendment, but discriminating against them surely does.”

Club members and Bartlett City Schools representatives are now working to secure an outside sponsor to get the bible club started up again.

College Bans Christian Preaching, Calling the Gospel ‘Fighting Words’

Anugrah Kumar – April 22, 2017

In response to a First Amendment lawsuit against it, Georgia Gwinnett College argues that it removed a Christian preacher from campus because his speech, though made in a “free speech zone,” rose to the level of “fighting words.

“Student Chike Uzuegbunam’s discussion of his Christian faith led to “fighting words” and he “used contentious religious language that, when directed to a crowd, has a tendency to incite hostility,” the school says in a motion filed earlier this month seeking to dismiss the case, according to Campus Reform.

On behalf of the Christian student, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit in December challenging the school’s restrictive speech policies, after Uzuegbunam was banned several times from discussing his faith even in an area designated by the school as a free speech zone.

“While touting commitments to ‘diversity’ and ‘open communications,’ Georgia Gwinnett College confines the speech of students to two ridiculously small speech zones and then censors the speech that occurs in those areas,” ADF wrote in the lawsuit.

Former LA District Attorneys Decry Charges Against Man Who Recorded Undercover Planned Parenthood Videos

– April 13, 2017

LOS ANGELES — Former Los Angeles County District Attorneys Steve Cooley and Brent Ferreira have joined the legal team supporting David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, who was recently charged with 15 felonies for recordings made during the process of investigating the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

The men appeared on a “Help David Defeat Goliath” conference call Wednesday night to talk about the charges and their belief that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra had wrongly applied the law to Daleiden’s activity.

“Attorney General Becerra is simply doing the bidding of Planned Parenthood and is using a law that does not fit David’s journalism at all to accuse him of a crime,” Ferreira said. “The statute itself says that it doesn’t apply to conversations being held in a public setting.”

“People who engage in public discourse have no expectation of privacy, and journalists who capture video footage of these conversations are protected by the First Amendment,” he outlined.